An unexpected gift on the Times Op-Ed page last Sunday, cohabiting with bleak post election columns by Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd: Six poems marking the end of daylight saving time. The work is all by blue chip poets—James Tate, Vijay Seshadri, Louise Glück, W. S. Merwin as well as the two whose poems I have posted below, Derek Walcott and Mary Oliver. Made my day to read these.

The Green Flash

le rayon vert

And the sea’s skin heaves, saurian,
and the spikes of the agave bristle
like a tusked beast bowing to charge
tonight the full moon will soar floating
without any moral or simile
the wind will bend the longbows of the arching casuarinas
the lizard will still scuttle
and the sun will sink silently with a stake in its eye
bleeding behind the shrouding sail
of a skeletal schooner.
You can feel the earth cooling,
you can feel its myth cooling
and watch your own heart go out like the red throbbing dot
of a hospital machine, with a green flash
next to Pigeon Island.

— Derek Walcott

Lines Written in the Days of Growing Darkness

Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
world descends
into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
And therefore
who would cry out

to the petals on the ground
to stay,
knowing, as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married

to the vitality of what will be?
I don’t say
it’s easy, but
what else will do

if the love one claims to have for the world
be true?
So let us go on

though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.

— Mary Oliver

Earlier posts written here about these poets:

Vijay Seshadri
That Was All That Happened

Louise Glück
Quiet Revelations
From the Center of My Life Came a Great Fountain
Thoughts on a Moonbeam for a New Year
Vineyard Watch
What Could Such Glory Be If Not a Heart?
The Love of Forms

W. S. Merwin
Merwin: Past and Present
The Washed Colors of the Afterlife
Walking at Night Between the Two Deserts
Dorothea Tanning: With Our Souls in Our Laps
Here are the extinct feathers, here is the rain we saw